Wednesday, February 15, 2017

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History made in Putnam County when Appellate Division convenes

CARMEL – History was made in Putnam County when for the first time the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department convened in Putnam County.

A total of 20 cases were heard Tuesday by the four judge panel consisting of presiding Judge Mark Dillon, Judge Jeffrey Cohen of Yorktown and Associate Justices Colleen Duffy and Francesca Connolly.


L-R: Justices Francesca Connolly, Jeffrey Cohen, Mark Dillon and Colleen Duffy

The historic Putnam Courthouse was filled with lawyers representing appellants and respondents, members of the Putnam County Bar Association.

Judge Dillon told the court that it “has taken 120 years to get here. I promise you we won’t wait another 120 years to return to Putnam County since in recent years, my colleagues and I enjoy getting out of our Brooklyn courthouse to make the circuit.”

Justice Randall Eng noted that one of the goals of his administration was to “reach out to the communities served by the Appellate Division by holding more sessions in other parts of the district.

Judge Eng had special praise for Putnam Senior Judge John Sweeny. “The historic occasion would not have come to fruition without the encouragement of my First Department colleague.”

Sweeny, a resident of Mahopac, told a brunch at the new Putnam Courthouse prior to the opening gavel that it was a “great honor” to have the Appellate Division in Putnam County. “We are the principal Appellate Court for the Supreme Court, County Court, Family Court and Surrogate Court. To come to a small county like Putnam is truly a special recognition since it demonstrates how distinct we are while showing respect for the Putnam legal community.”

While the Court of Appeals is New York’s highest court, Judge Sweeny noted that “well over 90 percent of all cases heard by the Appellate Division end at the Appellate Division level.”

The division’s second department contains 21 judges that handle cases of 40 percent of New York’s population.

During the day-long session, cases ranged from illegal immigration to state highway law; from a decision against a Rockland County synagogue to a zoning matter in Patterson.

Of the 20 cases, three originated in Putnam; five in Orange County; five in Dutchess County; three in Rockland County; two from Nassau County and one from Suffolk County.

 


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